Saturday, March 31, 2012


It's cold today. But Betty was in the sunshine.

Zest for living seems to have sunk down as quickly as the mercury in the thermometer.
Oh my cold feet!
They are OK now - socks and boots have been retrieved.
I so love the warmth - it creates energy.
Only yesterday we were sitting out for a couple of hours absorbing the warmth of the sun - today I feel idle and cold.
Tomorrow we will go out and I look forward to it......must sort out the clothes I need before going to bed. We will go to the car boot sale at Sayers Common.
Today we shopped - using Morrison's at Broadfield. Then, despite all he things to do on my list I have had a very lazy day.
Never mind.
Some days like that are needed.
Last Sunday we were sitting out in the sun too - at cousin Betty's.
I have created a collage about Betty.

Betty is 80. She has been widowed for more than 20 years. But life is full and creative.
Perhaps tomorrow I will have something more stimulating to write about.
I shall not let the return of winter get me down.

Friday, March 30, 2012


Sur la terrase a Epsom, avec Julie.

I bet I am not the only one feeling tired tonight.
French Julie has done rather more than normal - and after a bad day yesterday.
Yesterday she had fallen in her kitchen - turned too quickly. She hit her head on the way down and found she couldn't get up. She used the emergency button round her neck. People came - and despite her protestations, she was taken to hospital to be checked. She was not badly injured.
I rang this morning to say we planned to visit, and, cruel beast that I am, I refused to accept her desire that she should be left alone.
She was persuaded by the thought of the fish and chips!
Julie and I had a small Martini with our meal.
And then I made cups of tea and we all sat outside in the sunshine on her terrasse - always the French pronunciation for that.
We sat and talked and laughed.
I had promised that we might stay only for an hour, so as not to tire her.....but she wouldn't let us go!
I was saying that it might be time to depart and she asked for another cup of tea.
She had been very happy to have us there.
And it was a pleasure to do our bit for Julie.
Her mind and her wit are good. It is her balance and her legs which let her down. She believes that her body will always be like this and resents that life changed so suddenly from being full to a life where almost nothing is possible.

The journey to Epsom had been marked by petrol station problems. What a situation!
Some forecourts had no queues - but then they had no fuel. One in Ashstead had fuel and a queue which spilled out onto the road and caused traffic delays.
All this for something that might not happen!
And all because our esteemed government.....well, no....not esteemed by very many I would guess....all because they instructed us to panic buy; even to fill up cans with fuel. Crazy, crazy - and now one woman has come close to losing her life by sorting out her cans of fuel in the kitchen.
I simply ask if these politicians just have a constant outpouring of drivel spurting from their mouths? Or perhaps the drivel has been well thought out because they are devious and manipulative and have a hidden agenda?
Almost all politicians!
It certainly opened the door for George Galloway.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


South Stoke, North Stoke and Amberley Bridge, Sussex.

The holiday certainly feels like a holiday just now.
We are enjoying the wonderful weather and lots of days out, visiting familiar old friend type places and also places we have never visited before; and never being very far from home.
Today our day centred upon the River Arun.
After a successful buying spree at the Ford car boot sale we breakfasted on the banks of The Arun at Littlehampton and then walked along the estuary and out to the sea.
All very familiar.
Then we drove to pastures completely new - through Arundel to a tiny settlement alongside the river; South Stoke. Indeed we had not heard of South Stoke until I explored the web yesterday.
There is a church, a farm and half a dozen cottages; the population numbers 57.

The church was hardly more than a simple old barn.
The only lighting is candlelight.
Electricity was late arriving at this community - 1950. The church never took advantage of it.

This prayer was hanging in the church.
I love it - maybe sums up all I would wish for.

The River Arun at South Stoke.
We walked by the river and then through the tiny wood on the right, until we reached North Stoke.

Old flint barn - with metal cross supports for the wall.

Lovely old house by the church.
North Stoke is a larger settlement than South Stoke, but its church holds no regular services now.
Maybe arrangements can be made for baptisms, marriages or funerals.
Indeed we were stopped in the lane by a man asking if we were going to a funeral......did we look like we were dressed for a funeral?
But he seemed to have lost a funeral.
He had the right name of the church, but no other information.....and there was no funeral today at the church.

We went inside and enjoyed a very basic barn/church.

At North Stoke we were perhaps a mile from Amberley Bridge and  Amberley Station.
But we had to return to South Stoke, where we had left the car.
From South Stoke it was a journey of about 6 miles to get to Amberley Bridge.......we would have been going across the bridge anyway, so not a special detour for a cup of tea.
We might have stopped at The Black Rabbit for a drink. But all the outside tables were picnic tables and benches - hard seats and no back; not a pleasure at all!
The Amberley Bridge tea rooms had comfortable plastic chairs with backs and I really enjoyed sitting in the sunshine with tea and cake.

Carrot cake. Yummy!

The bridge and chickens - ornamental metal chickens.

The bridge and milkmaids.

Continue down the River Arun, through Arundel and after 8 to 10 miles you come to the Arun Estuary at Littlehampton, where we had walked earlier in the day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Crawley Museum and Goffs Park.

How long have we been waiting for today's successfully completed task?
Over 50 years!!!!
It was in 1958 that I went with my Dad to clear stuff from the house of a spinster who had just died. We were not house clearance merchants....that would have been another life for me.....we were hunting out anything connected with the history of our town. The spinster's father and grand father had been post masters for the town.
At that time there was no museum, but it was felt that when a museum was begun  the things we found would be of interest.
The museum was founded years ago - but somehow the stuff remained in the loft.
Today, at last, the bits that I had have been handed over.
There may still be more in Dad's house.
We had an interesting afternoon of chatting and looking round at the exhibits. It is well laid out and looks very professional. One day, the museum will move to a larger  building in the town centre.
Here are some pictures of both the museum and also some taken on our walk round the park.

Museums all round the country are creating displays connected with their locality and the reign of our Queen.

 Ye Olde Punch Bowle.
In The High Street.
In my youth, both  the name and the place were filled with mystery - it was just not the sort of place my family would have ever gone to. Couldn't afford to.

In the kitchen.

A shoe repairer's shop - from the cobbler in Three Bridges.

Laundry drying by the fire.

A sampler by Emily gates, aged 10.

I can remember this item being taken from Dad's loft and passed to the museum.
Our family didn't want the responsibility for the care of it!

Ron Shaw's veteran car.
Ron Shaw owned a garage in the town - originally in The High Street. I went to school with his son.
Every year he drove the car in the Old Crocks Rally (as we used to call it) from London to Brighton.
His passenger, who sat in a sort of bucket seat at the front was my maths teacher, John Aubertin.
The photo to the left of the old bike shows them arriving in Brighton.

Goffs Park House.

The museum is housed in the wing to the left hand side.

Tree reflections in Goffs Park pond.
A short while later a duck swam across, disturbing the ripples and reflection to great effect.

The museum is open on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons from 2 o'clock to 4 o'clock.
It is well worth a visit.
There are also very reasonably priced booklets about many aspects of Crawley history.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Treats and Threats.

What a treat! A day of chatting with a really good friend.
I was in the shop with Jo today - a lovely, lovely person. We must have been talking for well over 4 hours before we did any of our work - apart from dealing with a few customers and people hoping that we might buy their things.
Nothing of mine sold at the shop today - but I did sell on EBay this evening......but not the 1950s table.
I didn't really encourage its sale by saying that the buyer would have to collect.
Now what?
Bill doesn't really want it.
I love it.
I guess sometime it will have to go - maybe at a car boot sale.
Now, I won't be getting political about this.....but can anybody tell me if any tanker drivers have ever been killed or injured in the normal course of their duties? I haven't heard of any; and yet the proposed  strike seems to imply that safety levels are far too low. So what is it all for?
I have already heard of service stations cashing in on the potential panic buying. One woman on local radio said she called in at a garage to get petrol. The big lit up sign outside the forecourt telling you the price wasn't working........and lo and behold she was charged 5p a litre more than the price had been yesterday.
I hope it won't interfere with our planned visit to Newcastle on Easter Monday.

Monday, March 26, 2012


The mysterious case of the disappearing oomph.

Where has it gone?
Where has the oomph gone?
I had it during the day, but it has disappeared.
But then I was a bit silly.....I went to the back of the shop this morning to put the kettle on, but didn't actually make me, or anyone else a drink until a bit of a major shift around of stock had taken place.
I am tired now.
I don't think 'll get any of the stuff on the dining room table written up tonight. But then I know the shelves at the shop are where would I put anything else? Impossible without a re-arrangement!
Bill is busy sorting his weekend purchases out right now.
Tomorrow had better be an easy day.
We will be at the shop with Jo and I am sure Jo and I can pass the time chatting.
And there will be customers too. There were customers today.....Monday is one of the busy days.
Tomorrow, when we get back I shall be dealing with EBay sales.
Please don't let the 1950's table sell! Odd thing to want, I know. And Bill doesn't really want to keep it - but I would like to have it around a bit longer. We'll see - what will be, will be.
Time for a cup of tea and a curl up on the sofa - probably not a good idea. I shall no doubt fall asleep.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Old people.....a race apart?

Not so very long ago, it seems, that I suppose I thought that I could have nothing in common with old people. Indeed there must have been a time when I didn't quite believe that old people and me were the same race.
The way old people lived and talked and thought was nothing like the way I did those  things!
Time has moved on and I guess I am presumed to be an old person by many youngsters.
I am not an old person of course - can't be, because I am no different from how I have always been.
And, as a not yet old person, I, slightly tongue in cheek, described today as an afternoon tea with 2 aged cousins.
Visiting relations on a Sunday afternoon for long since that happened? It used to be common place.
It used to be normal to open a tin of salmon to make sandwiches and then to have some tinned peaches with evaporated milk and some trifle or cake.
Well, some things have, mainly!
But the basis of our tea was much as Sunday afternoon tea used to be. Yes, there were tinned salmon sandwiches - and lots of other kinds. I actually removed the fillings and scraped it all on to rice cakes.
I felt I couldn't be totally fussy and ate the jelly, made with evaporated milk. Memo to self - get some extra tablets down you to counteract that evaporated milk.
There were 4 different types of cake. Yummy!
But I have returned home feeling bloated and with a head ache. OK - perhaps it is not just bread that causes me such problems. I had hoped that my wheat/gluten intolerance was a figment of my imagination.
Now I must promise myself 6 weeks of not just being bread free, but wheat/gluten free.
Despite that I have had a great time with Betty and Ann.
They are both over 80 now. Ann, the elder is rather fragile these days. Betty continues life with tremendous energy and enthusiasm. She is a tailor/seamstress by trade and loves nothing better than to be creative with a needle.She has embarked on a superb patch work quilt and has created some superb blankets. She goes line dancing twice a week.
We have spent some hours talking, gossiping and giggling.
Oh I did laugh when I heard that their mother, Auntie Sophie had been propositioned by her father in law! I don't suppose Auntie Sophie laughed much about it though.
I can see now that I am part of the same human race as old people - that they think and talk and giggle just as they have always done and I have much in common with them.......not least of all we have old age in common!
Though to Ann and Betty, I am just a young one.
It was a lovely afternoon.
This morning was worthwhile but tiring.
We battled with seemingly half the population of south Sussex at the car boot sale in the field at Sayers Common. Pushing a trolley round a field is hard work - though people pushing the hundreds of push chairs didn't seem to be too concerned.
I like to go round such a boot sale quite fast - it is easy to gloss one's eyes over a stall and quickly decide if it is the sort I would like to stop at. Mr and Mrs General Public and their kids and babies and dogs on leads amble slowly and then suddenly stop about 6 inches in front of my speeding trolley.
I was constantly manoevering the thing right and left to avoid ankles.
Never mind we came home with some more bargains. None of it has been sorted of course.
And parcels that need to be made to post tomorrow have not yet been done.
I shall have to get up early in the morning.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


The seaside in March - Littlehampton.

Today we have enjoyed the seaside in the sunshine.
And what sunshine it was - it wasn't feeling like March at all.

This man and his newspaper on the beach at Littlehampton tell the story.  By PM

Our story began at 7 o'clock, when we left home.
The Ford boot sale was completely full and about 40 cars had to be turned away because there was no room for more sellers.
We bought some interesting things of course.  I specially like the two huge bound volumes of House and Garden magazine from 1949 to 1952.
We did a lot of walking and we were there for two and a half hours - time to sit down and have some breakfast.

After calling in at The Balaton - not yet sold, we walked out to the beach and then back to the lifeboat station.

Here is a selection of our March at the seaside photographs.

The ice cream shop next to The Balaton was doing a roaring trade.
Its not my favourite ice cream - all soft and creamy. I prefer the Italian ice creams better; with a bit of firmness and sharper flavours.
Or sorbet......bought some in the farm shop before we came home.

Out to sea in a little red boat. By PM.

Spadework on the beach.
There were lots of people enjoying a relaxing happy time on the beach.
The tide was high - after lunch they would have been able to enjoy the wide expanse of sand.
People were paddling, playing, dozing, reading......all the things that a sunny beach is for.

Keeping an eye on their two daughters. By WGM.

Somebody enjoying the sun.....that same somebody might be suffering from the sun this evening! By WGM

Hats to protect. by PM.

Newspaper and kindle. by WGM

Sea spray in the
sun shine.

By the river.
I fed my breakfast bread and butter to the swans.
Better they have gut problems than me!

We arrived home just in time.
An Ebay customer was coming to collect his purchase and had arranged to arrive about 3 o'clock.
He bought a special constable arm band which will be going in the Sussex Police Archives Museum.
Since his visit, I have had more Bay sales to deal with.
Time now for a cuppa - with some of the sorbet, mentioned earlier and some fruit.
I want to have an early night as we spring forward and lose an hour of precious sleep - and mine has been disturbed sleep the last few nights.
And hey! The first in a field car boot sale of the summer is tomorrow. It is one that starts at half past nine, so quite civilised.
We will be out to tea with 2 of Bill's cousins - both in their 80s.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Wakehurst Place - mostly yellow.

Another sunny day and another lovely walk in the countryside and gardens.
Today we went to Nymans - only about 4 miles from home. Our local garden!
We go quite often and I decided to challenge myself photographically by sticking to the colour yellow.

Yes, I's a red tulip.
But just look at the magnificent yellow centre - the pistil and stamens.

New growth on a shrub and the wonders of the humble dandelion.

We wandered away from the gardens and out into the fields.
Lots of wild daffodils.

Yellow daffodils and magnolia petals.

Yellow tulips and primroses.

Yellow tulips and pink blossom.......there was a lot of pink to enjoy as well as the yellow.

Pale yellow fritillary.

I feel really good about having taken this photograph.

Now for some non yellow...........

Bill at our picnic table.

To add a final flourish to a lovely couple of hours we went into the barn which is now a second hand book shop......and I found 5 Catherine Alliotts.
We had not expected to be at Nymans today, but plans had been changed.
We had planned to see Julie Pilgrims today. She phoned early to say that she was feeling too tired and wanted to go back to bed.
This is very sad.

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